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Lights, Camera, Action!
Using progressive skits to teach food chains to kids of all ages
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June 19, 2017
Green Teacher

“Lights, Camera, Action!” Right on cue, the first grader wearing a yellow cape pops up, flings out her arms, and shouts, “Rise and shine!” Beside her, an alga draped in green grows taller, and the entire class joins him in chanting, “photosynthesis, photosynthesis, photosynthesis.” The aquatic snail creeps into action then, pretending to rasp the plant with his radula and delivering the line, “munch, munch, munch.” He doesn’t have long to eat though because soon the dragonfly nymph zooms in from offstage, flings out her hydraulically powered jaws, and exclaims, “gotcha!”

At this point, the audience giggles but stays focused in anticipation of the next bit of drama. They’ve seen it before, so they know what’s coming. The insect’s line of travel takes her right in front of a hungry bluegill, and he responds with his own playful attack and a satisfied, “slurp!” As the well-fed bluegill swims away, its luck runs out. A great blue heron lurks nearby, primed and ready with a kitchen tong beak, “yum!” After her fish snack, the heron crumples to the ground, a victim of old age. The crayfish scuttles in, drawing more giggles with his comment, “mmm, dead stuff!” Finally, four aquatic worms from the front row wiggle toward the feast on their bellies chanting, “decomposition, decomposition, decomposition.” The room erupts in applause and the actors take their bow.

Teacher-led progressive skits like this one are a quick and engaging way to make food chains come alive for students aged six and up (even adults enjoy getting in on the fun). They provide a good mix of teacher control and student creativity, and use repetition and humor to facilitate learning. They can be customized to work with any grade level or even mixed groups by purposefully selecting the level of vocabulary and detail you include.


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